This article explores the growing phenomenon of 'long COVID' – the continuation of serious symptoms and effects for a significant period after a person's initial COVID-19 infection and illness. People who suffer from long-term health conditions may be 'disabled' in law and so protected from discrimination under the Equality Act. This article considers whether long COVID could amount to a disability for these purposes and the potential consequences for employers more generally.
The High Court recently ruled that the United Kingdom has failed to properly implement EU health and safety law by restricting protection from detriment on health and safety grounds to 'employees'. The extension of such protection to the broader category of 'workers' potentially increases employers' exposure to COVID-19-related health and safety claims.
New regulations underpinning the three-tier lockdown system are now in force in England as part of the government's efforts to step up its response to the pandemic. This article considers whether the new regulations will demand a stricter approach to office work, as well as what may constitute a gathering, the rules for travelling to work in a different tier and how to approach client and internal work meetings.
What health and safety obligations do employers have towards employees and visitors with regard to face coverings in the workplace? How should they enforce wearing face coverings if people refuse? And how should they protect employees from abusive customers or visitors? This article discusses the current rules regarding face coverings at work and some of the practical issues that may arise for employers.
The government's Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been extended to provide a second three-month grant for self-employed individuals affected by COVID-19 after 13 July 2020. The value of the second self-employed grants has been reduced to 70% of trading profit for three months. The government has made it clear that financial support cannot continue indefinitely, and that this will be the final grant instalment under the self-employed scheme.
Following the government's publication of its post-COVID-19 recovery strategy, employers are beginning to consider how they may safely reopen their workplace for those who cannot work from home. Employers have statutory duties to provide a safe workplace, but what of risks faced by employees during their commute to work? For many employees, the key concern is not what happens in the workplace, but rather the risks of using public transport to get there.